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How Much Does Marijuana Impact Your Driving?

Discussion in 'General' started by Kronik Clothing, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. Kronik Clothing

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    USA — A rigorous federal research study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse offers new data on the effects of marijuana on driving performance.

    The exact impact of marijuana on driving ability is a controversial subject—and it’s become more important states continue to loosen their drug laws. And, while drunk driving is on the decline in the U.S., driving after having smoked or otherwise consumer marijuana has become more common. According to the most recent national roadside survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of weekend nighttime drivers, 8.3 percent had some alcohol in their system and 12.6 percent tested positive for THC—up from 8.6 percent in 2007.

    It is illegal in all states to drive under the influence of anything, but years of work went in to establishing the .08 breathe alcohol limit that exists in most states. The question is whether we can establish a similar threshold for pot.

    To find out, the study recruited 18 occasional cannabis smokers, 13 of them men, between the ages 21 and 37. The participants took six 45-minute drives in a driving simulator—a 1996 Malibu sedan mounted in a 7.3 diameter dome—at the University of Iowa. Each drive tested a different combination of high or low concentration THC, alcohol, and placebos (to create a placebo, participants were given fruit juice with alcohol swabbed in the rim, topped of with 1ml alcohol, to mimic alcohol’s smell and taste).

    The researchers looked at 250 parameters of driving ability, but this paper focused on three in particular: weaving within the lane, the number of times the car left the lane, and the speed of the weaving. While alcohol had an effect on the number of times the car left the lane and the speed of the weaving, marijuana did not. Marijuana did show an increase in weaving. Drivers with blood concentrations of 13.1 ug/L THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, showed increase weaving that was similar to those with a .08 breath alcohol concentration, the legal limit in most states. For reference, 13.1 ug/L THC is more than twice the 5 ug/L numeric limit in Washington and Colorado.

    Dr. Marilyn Huestis, the principal investigator in the study, says it is important to note that the study looked at the concentration of THC in the driver’s system while they were driving. This is quite different from the concentration typically measured in a drugged driver out on the road, whose blood may not be checked until several hours after an arrest, allowing the THC level to drop considerably from the time they were driving.

    Huestis says the researchers are looking at how to estimate how long it takes for THC concentrations in the blood to drop. Huestis believes that the 5 ug/L limit is not strict enough, particularly when you take into account those with low tolerance.

    The study also found that pot and alcohol have more of an impact on driving when used together. Drivers who used both weaved within lanes, even if their blood THC and alcohol concentrations were below the threshold for impairment taken on their own. “We know cannabis is primarily found with a low dose of alcohol,” Huestis says. “Many young people have a couple beers and then cannabis.”

    Smoking pot while drinking a little alcohol also increased THC’s absorption, making the high more intense. Similarly, THC delayed the peak of alcohol impairment, meaning that it tended to take longer for someone using both to feel drunk. Such data is important to educate the public about pot’s effects before they get on the road.

    “I think this has added really good knowledge from a well-designed study to add to the current debate,” on marijuana’s effects on road safety, says Dr. Marilyn Huestis, the principal investigator in the study, which was conducted by researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
     
  2. Stephypilane

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    Well I have just recently started smoking again after like a 20 year hiatus. So, I know I can't drive while high yet. Now if I smoke first thing in the morning then by about 10 am or 2 hours after smoking I'm ok to drive. I think that if folks are responsible with their use like they are supposed to be with alcohol then they will be ok.
     
  3. Jeff

    Jeff Member
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    I don't think It affects me at all that test was very interesting but why not give it to seasoned cannabis smokers. Occasional smokers would of course b blistered lol but I'd still rather b on the road with the cannabis smoker than someone drunk.
     
  4. friendswithbears

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    People yell at me all the time to tell me how good my driving is.:eek:
     
  5. Jeff

    Jeff Member
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    They do me the same FWB
     
  6. Hanna Anderson

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    I’ve been researching this topic for some time now, especially for my work. When we talk about driving, we can all agree that marijuana impacts everyone differently. After legalizing it for recreational use in Colorado, for instance, in 2015 DUI arrests dropped 6%, but arrests for driving high are climbing (which was probably expected outcome). Still, that is incomparable to arrests for drunk driving and their outcome, since a third of all fatal car accidents in 2014 were caused by drunk driving.


    You can check out the infographic I was working on, it has some useful information on marijuana-impaired driving laws in the USA and Canada:


    http://omqlaw.CA/criminal-law/drinking-and-driving-related-offences/
     
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  7. Jay W Greenflower

    Jay W Greenflower Cannabis entrepreneur
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    For me, when drinking and using cannabis I become much more impaired than just using cannabis alone.
    I think its fair to say that going forward in the cannabis movement , we should all pave the future for all the people in this country (USA) that will be enjoying the rights we have been fighting for and still fighting for by being more "responsible".
    There is enough out here on the internet for all of us to ignorantly and blatantly disregard the most basic of "privileges" we have ... Driving!!
    If we all took a "new approach" from a cannabis standpoint and more responsibility for our actions when using it from a "recreational" aspect, perhaps the laws would become more tailored to the actions we take collectively as a "society" of folks partaking in this wonderful god given plant. We need to own this plant as individuals, it deserves respect.
     
  8. Lymmie

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    Ill share a personal experience. I once had a dealer that wanted to let you sample everything but was so busy you couldnt hang out to sober up. I drove high a couple of times before i finally said look man i cant handle it trying to drive so i dont mean any offense but let me just take one for the road and ill buy it if i like it lol. But for me trying to drive high. I was far more paranoid and worried about staying in my lane and is that a cop and god damn there usually was. My heart would race in those moments. But the 3 or so times i did do it i was relaxed mostly and i ended up driving about 10mph under the speed limit. I could not maintain the same speed. The speed limit felt too fast. I wish i would have had a dash cam back then to share with you all!
     
  9. Jay W Greenflower

    Jay W Greenflower Cannabis entrepreneur
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    I believe there will come a time where testing for the substance will become a standard similar to testing alcohol in the system, until then its up to us the tokers and grand cannabis users take responsibility unto ourselves to judge when enough is enough before getting behind the wheel. Stay green!
     
  10. Winger9

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    Yeah, I truly agree with everything what has been posted by all others. It is responsibility of everyone who takes the weed to not to overdo and then do driving. I have worked for a Los Angeles DUI lawyer and have seen how lives can get ruined.
     
  11. Lymmie

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    Good input! And welcome to the forums. Ive never personally seen a life ruined by marijuana but i can see how it would in those circumstances.
     
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